Freight Rail Policy Stance: Congress should enact policies that ensure a healthy, multi-modal infrastructure network, maintained through sustained investments by those who use the infrastructure. Without the ability to make massive private investments, the freight railroad network would suffer along with the all the companies and industries that rely on it.
The U.S. freight rail network moves the raw goods and finished products that fuel the American economy.
This critical, efficient and cost-effective transportation system is among the best in the world because of the billions of dollars — averaging $25 billion annually — railroads privately pour back into their infrastructure and equipment. How is the money used?
For better tracks and locomotives to make other industries more globally competitive; for investments in innovative technology and operations that ensure the industry is among the safest; for improved freight car designs and more efficient locomotives to reduce energy consumption, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions; for the best freight rail infrastructure in the world, which stands in stark contrast to the nation’s highway infrastructure.
Because of these critical investments, the freight railroad industry’s priority in a federal infrastructure initiative is to preserve its ability to compete successfully in a safe, efficient and cost-effective manner. In addition to maintaining the current economic regulatory framework, which is fundamental to the railroads’ ability to earn returns on their investments sufficient to maintain a 140,000-mile railroad network, Congress should consider the policies below under “At A Glance.”